Heritage Cases

Heritage Crime - Proposed Declaration of the Harry Gwala Grave Site as a National Heritage Site (KZN) vs. The Proposed Dismantlement of the Orania Afrikaner Cultural Community and Town (NC)





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Heritage Crime - Proposed Declaration of the Harry Gwala Grave Site as a National Heritage Site (KZN) vs. The Proposed Dismantlement of the Orania Afrikaner Cultural Community and Town (NC)


A news report on eNCA reported on 21 June 2020 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCkfW1pfnjk) that: “And South Africa’s Afrikaner only town Orania must fall, so says the Board Chair of the Harry Gwala Foundation, Panyasa Lesufi. He says Orania isn’t inclusive or a symbol of democracy. Lesufi was speaking during a wreath laying ceremony at the grave of struggle icon Harry Gwala. eNCA’s Siphamandla Goge has got this report: ‘In the Karoo desert of the Northern Cape lies this Whites only establishment, Orania. It was founded in 1991 as Apartheid was coming to an end. The town has been the subject of intense debate for years. Now the Harry Gwala Foundation Board Chair Panyasa Lesufi says Orania must go. He says the Whites only towns’ existence is not in the spirit of the democratic non-racial society’. (Lesufi): ‘We understand why that institution was established before. It has lived its time. It’s now that that place must be liberated, and all South Africans must be allowed to stay wherever they want to stay. We don’t say we want to stay with them, but you can’t have an institution that is established on the basis of language, or on the basis of the colour of their skin’. In honouring struggle stalwart Harry Gwala, alliance partners and Gwala’s Foundation are calling for his grave site to be declared a National Heritage Site…” The two components of this Heritage Case are intricately linked by Lesufi, having had used the same platform, the wreath laying ceremony at Gwala’s grave site to introduce and publicly announce both: 1) The proposal for the Harry Gwala grave site to be declared a National Heritage Site (KZN); and 2) The proposed dismantlement of Orania (NC). Furthermore, Lesufi’s proposal for the declaration of Harry Gwala’s grave site indicates that he is either well acquainted with the contents of the National Heritage Resources Act, Act No 25 of 1999 (NHRA 1999), being the only Act under which a site can be declared a National Heritage Site, or alternatively that he has already consulted with a heritage specialist. The proposal for dismantlement of Orania is in contradiction with the very principles of the NHRA 1999, the preamble of which states that: “This legislation aims to promote good management of the national estate, and to enable and encourage communities to nurture and conserve their legacy so that it may be bequeathed to future generations. Our heritage is unique and precious and it cannot be renewed. It helps us to define our cultural identity and therefor lies at the heart of our spiritual well-being and has the power to build our nation. It has the potential to affirm our diverse cultures, and in so doing shape our national character…” It is argued in this Heritage Case that heritage have been used, by the accused, Mr. A. Panyasa Lesufi, with ulterior motives: The particulars of a single Act, the NHRA 1999, have been used by Lesufi to argue for the conservation and proposed declaration of a heritage site (the Harry Gwala grave site proposed for National Heritage Site declaration), while the particulars of the same Act, the NHRA 1999, have been ignored, and popular emotional and political support been garnered in arguing for the dismantlement of the Orania Afrikaner cultural community and town. Assessment of this Heritage Case will have a significant impact on the heritage management industry, not only with reference to the specific outcomes thereof, but also the impact thereof on the many cultural communities living across South Africa, more than often not under any formal heritage protection status, with their livelihoods in cases threatened by various factors including developmental, economic, environmental, social and socio-political factors, to name a few. Considering this Heritage Case it is recommended that a reconciliatory approach, laying at the roots of the NHRA 1999 and having had been the standard industry practice for the past two decades, be followed: That the proposal for the Harry Gwala grave site to be declared a National Heritage Site be considered, but on the condition that necessary mitigatory measures be instated to ensure protection for Orania: 1. That SAHRA issues a provisional 2 year protection to Orania in terms of the NHRA 1999, Section 29(1)(a)(ii); 2. That the proposed provisional protection shall apply until such time as all heritage and other legal concerns relating to this case have been concluded, including possible renewal of the protection if necessary; 3. That SAHRA allows Orania to apply for a suitable permanent heritage protection. It is recommended that Orania considers a ‘Living Heritage’ site category [NHRA 1999, Section 2(xxi)], of preferably Grade III (Local Heritage Site) or Grade II (Provincial Heritage Site) protection status[NHRA 1999, Section 7(1)(b) or 7(1)(c)]; and 4. That a copy of the application / proposal for the declaration of the Harry Gwala grave site for National Heritage Site status be forwarded to ArchaeoMaps. Should no such application have been submitted to date, that a copy of the application be forwarded as soon as possible (ASAP) upon submission to SAHRA, and no later than 20 working days after receipt by SAHRA. Should the responsible heritage authority at any point in time, be it as a result of the application criteria or by choice of the applicant change from SAHRA to AMAFA, that concerns included in this case be transferred, and equally applied to AMAFA at such time. It is requested that SAHRA confirms receipt of this Heritage Case, in writing, within 30 working days from the date of submission of this report i.e. on or before 11 August 2020 (2020-08-11). It is requested that SAHRA, on said date, stipulates in writing the way forward for the various parties involved in this Heritage Case.


Monday, June 29, 2020 - 20:05






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